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Brett McMurphy has the Utes in his pre-spring top 25

Utah football has high expectations for the 2019 season. They have the most talented lineup since joining the PAC12 for the second straight year. USC is in the dumps right now. Their players quit on Clay Helton last season and recruits who had only been on campus for a matter of weeks left once they saw what was really going on. The Trojans are talented but they didn’t lose 5 of their last 6 games last year on accident. Arizona will struggle on defense yet again in 2019. ASU will not be as explosive on offense as they were a year ago without N’Keal Harry. Colorado is still a year away from bowl contention. UCLA is a wild card team in 2019. They have returning talent from a bad team a year ago that could turn in a better product with a little more experience.

Utah is a clear cut favorite to win the PAC12 south. They should be the consensus #1 pick in the south by the media. That’s why we weren’t surprised to see Brett McMurphy, now with stadium sports, add the Utes to his pre spring top 25. He has the Utes at 10. You can read the article in full here.

 

No. 10 – Utah

Last year: 9-5 (6-3 Pac-12)
Bowl result: Lost to Northwestern 31-20 in Holiday Bowl
Consecutive bowl trips: 5 years (4-1)
Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Toughest non-conference game: At BYU, Aug. 29
Toughest conference game: At Washington, Nov. 2

Utah staggered down the stretch last season, but still managed to capture its first Pac-12 South title. After scoring at least 30 points in seven of its final eight regular season games, the Utes’ offense struggled in losses to Washington in the Pac-12 title game (10-3) and Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl (31-20). Starting quarterback Tyler Huntley (broken collarbone) and leading rusher Zack Moss (knee) were both out in the bowl loss, but they are among eight returning starters on offense in 2019.

Jason Shelley, who started five games at quarterback when Huntley was injured, is also back as Utah welcomes new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who came from Vanderbilt. Ludwig returns to Utah, where he was offensive coordinator from 2005-08. He is already stressing a more physical presence for the Utes and a commitment to running the football, which fits perfectly into Coach Kyle Whittingham’s philosophy.

Defensively, the Utes return a lot, including six players with starting experience on the defensive line: ends Maxs Tupai, Mika Tafua and Bradlee Anae and tackles Leki Fotu, John Penisini and Pita Tonga. Utah opens the season with the Holy War against BYU in Provo. The Utes also play Northern Illinois and Idaho State before entering conference play. The Pac-12 schedule works in Utah’s favor as it replaces games with Oregon and Stanford with Oregon State and Cal. The Utes’ toughest tests will be at USC and at Washington, so expect Utah to make another run at a Pac-12 title.

Record last 5 years:
2018: 9-5
2017: 7-6
2016: 9-4
2015: 10-3
2014: 9-4

Record vs. spread last 3 years: 24-15-1 ATS

File away: Since 2014, Kyle Whittingham’s Utes are 11-2 against the spread as a road underdog, winning seven of the 13 games outright.

Odds to win College Football Playoff (via Westgate Superbook): 100/1

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